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NEW YORK — Lancome USA has a new president, Eric Lauzat, a 30-year L’Oreal veteran.

As president of the brand in the U.S., he will report to Edgar Huber, president of the Luxury Products Division of L’Oreal USA. Lauzat will take over his new post on May 15.

Lauzat, 52, was most recently general manager of L’Oreal’s prestige and collections travel-retail division worldwide. For the past 10 years he has been based in Paris. Although he is French by birth, he became an American citizen 20 years ago and lived in Miami for several years in the late Seventies and again in the early Nineties. Lauzat has also overseen the company’s local businesses in the Middle East, Africa, Oceania and some countries in Latin America. He was based in Hong Kong previously, running L’Oreal’s three brands in China. Prior to that he was in the U.K.

In this role, however, he is returning to his roots: Lauzat began as a sales manager for Lancôme International in October 1974.

“I admire Eric for all his successes, particularly in the travel-retail field,” said Huber, noting that the company now holds a 21 percent market share in that field. “We are number one, by far, in travel-retail thanks to his strong leadership. With his strong leadership skills and store experience, and with Dalia Chammas and Nina White, we have the perfect team to continue Lancôme’s growth in the U.S.”

Huber added that Lauzat’s “intimate knowledge of luxury brands and his experience in the department store markets of Southeast Asia and Australia have given him a global perspective and retail experience, making him well suited for his new responsibilities.”

In turn, Lauzat called Huber “the best coach in the business” and said that he is “extremely happy to have been trusted with the Lancome brand.” 

Lauzat assumes the president’s title from Huber. Although Chammas was named general manager for the brand in June 2001, Huber has officially held the title of president of Lancome since September 2003. That’s when he succeeded Luc Nadeau as president of the Luxury Products Division of L’Oreal USA. Nadeau is currently president of the company’s Canadian Luxury Products Division and is also executive vice president of corporate communications and external relations for L’Oreal Canada.

This story first appeared in the April 22, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Chammas, a 27-year veteran of Lancome, will remain general manager and senior vice president of sales, and will concentrate her efforts on developing the Lancôme field sales team, noted Huber.

White, a nine-year L’Oreal USA veteran who was named deputy general manager and senior vice president of marketing for Lancome in January, will continue to be responsible for overseeing the development, execution and implementation of all marketing strategies — including print and broadcast advertising — for Lancôme in the U.S., said Huber.

White, who was senior vice president of marketing for sister firm L’Oreal Paris, took over the deputy general manager slot when Odile Roujol was promoted to an international slot in France in January.

Lauzat’s travel-retail duties have been assumed by Vincent Boinay, who is currently second in command of the French Luxury Products Division for L’Oreal. At one point, noted Lauzat, Boinay had helmed the firm’s travel-retail business in Europe.

Lancome does about $600 million at wholesale in the U.S., said industry sources, a figure that is roughly equal to the size of the business Lauzat managed as head of travel-retail. While neither Huber nor Lauzat would comment on the brand’s U.S. sales, both acknowledged that they’re eager to change Lancome’s current number-three ranking behind Clinique and Estee Lauder in department stores.

“It’s new to me, being number three, because in travel-retail we were used to kicking the bottoms of our competitors,” said Lauzat with a rueful grin. “We don’t like not being number one, and we’re putting steps in place to get us in the lead. I feel very confident about the future of Lancome in the U.S.”